The Road She Left Behind by Christine Nolfi
Kindle Edition, 316 pages
Published June 11th 2019 by Lake Union Publishing
About the Book:
Three women. Two families torn apart by secrets. Crushed by guilt over the car accident that killed her father and sister, and torn apart by her mother’s resentment, Darcy Goodridge fled her family estate eight years ago and hasn’t looked back. Now an unexpected phone call threatens to upend what little serenity she’s found. Her nephew, Emerson, who was just a baby when his mother died, has gone missing. Darcy must return home and face her past in order to save him. Once back in Ohio, Darcy realizes there’s more to Emerson’s disappearance—and to the sudden retirement of her mother, Rosalind—than meets the eye. As she works to make inroads with Rosalind, Darcy begins to unravel a decades-old secret that devastated her family and forced a wedge between her and Michael Varano, the man she left heartbroken when she vanished after the funeral. After carrying the scars of that fateful night for almost a decade, Darcy is determined to find closure, healing, and maybe even love where she lost them all in the first place—right back home where she belongs.
Like a mother shielding her child from the harsh reality that life, a haven blessed with sweet beginnings, was also a battleground cursed with bitter endings.
This was a welcome break from my usual steady diet of thrillers. I've read and enjoyed previous books by Christine Nolfi, but I think this is the best one she's ever written. The Road She Left Behind is a multi-generational story of a mother, a daughter, their nephew/grandson and the decades-old secret that devastated their family.
Christine Nolfi knows how to paint a vivid picture featuring engaging characters and her talents were on full display with this novel. The characters were emotionally engaging; I laughed and cried with them and their struggles were very tangible. Parts of this were very sensitive and personal, but Ms. Nolfi handled delicate details with respect and did not belittle her characters. I couldn't help but be pulled into Darcy and Rosalind's lives and stayed up late to spend more time with them.
All of the characters were richly imagined and detailed and I was very invested in the story which was at turns heartbreaking and joyful. The story is sprawling, and beautiful, and once it got going, it was difficult to step away from the lives of these characters. In the end, this was a book about the bonds we make and how each can either make or break us.
Thank you NetGalley, Christine Nolfi, Hogarth and Lake Union Publishing for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an impartial review; all opinions are my own.
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